Unit 14: Future and conditional perfect tenses, translation considerations (part 4)

14.3 Second Person Singular Commands

The affirmative tú commands are the same as the Ud. form of the present tense. The negative tú commands (like all other negative commands) are formed with the present subjunctive. Object pronouns, as always, are attached to affirmative commands, thus making them easier to recognize:

Tú command with object pronoun attached:

Escríbele. Write to him.

Third person singular with object pronoun:

Le escribe. He (She, You [form.] write/s to him.

In negative tú commands, as with all others, object pronouns are not attached to verb forms. In these cases, it is more important to know if a verb is of the –ar versus the –er or –ir type so that you recognize the opposite vowel used in the subjunctive that forms the negative commands.

No le escribas. Don’t write to him.
No le escribe. He (She, You [form.] doesn’t write to him.
No le escribes. You (fam.) don’t write to him.
No me contestes. Don’t answer me.
No me contesta. He (She, You [form.] is/are not answering me.
No me contestas. You (fam.) are not answering me.

There are eight common irregular affirmative tú commands that need to be recognized:

decir di say, tell
hacer haz do, make
ir ve go
poner pon put
ser be
salir sal leave, go out
tener ten have
venir ven come

The negative of these commands takes the subjunctive (No digas, No hagas, etc.)

Coincidentally, you have seen five of these forms in quite different circumstances. Di is also the first person preterite of dar; ve is also the third person singular present tense of ver; sé is also the first person present tense of saber;and ven is the third person plural present tense of ver. (Additionally, sal is also the feminine noun that means “salt.”)

When these words are in context, however, there should never be any ambiguity. Compare:

Di la verdad. Tell the truth.
Di un regalo. I gave a gift
Sé bueno. Be good.
Sé la respuesta. I know the answer.
Ve a casa. Go home.
Ve la casa. She sees the house.
Ven a casa. Come home.
Ven la casa. They see the house.
Sal de aquí. Get out of here. (Leave here.)
Pásame la sal, por favor. Please pass me the salt.



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